For the InstructorThese student materials complement the Future of Food Instructor Materials. If you would like your students to have access to the student materials, we suggest you either point them at the Student Version which omits the framing pages with information designed for faculty (and this box). Or you can download these pages in several formats that you can include in your course website or local Learning Managment System. Learn more about using, modifying, and sharing InTeGrate teaching materials.
Corn (Maize) Case Study
Credit: Heather Karsten
Corn or maize is a summer annual C4 crop in the Poaceae, or grass family that has high nutrient demands. Unless soil conservation practices are used, corn fields do not have live roots protecting the soil from erosion and providing other soil quality benefits after harvest in the fall, winter and spring. The US is the largest corn producer in the world. Soils and climate, particularly in the Midwest, permit high corn yields; and significant investment in agricultural research has produced high-yielding corn hybrids and production technologies, such as fertilizers, pest control practices, farming equipment, and irrigation. Research has also developed diverse uses for the large quantities of corn produced in the US, and the US is also a major exporter of corn.
Activate Your Learning
Read this overview of US corn production and uses from the US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Corn and Other Feed Grains. Then answer the following questions:
1. What are two top uses of corn in the US?
2. Discuss at least three specific factors that explain why the amount of corn produced in the US has increased over the past 30 years?